the seston of the small, shallow, and tropical lake monte alegre was tested for quantity and quality for cladocerans by growth bioassays, which were carried out in spring (daphnia gessneri and moina micrura), summer (d. gessneri, m. micrura, ceriodaphnia cornuta, and simocephalus mixtus), and winter (d. gessneri and d. ambigua). cohorts of newborns originating from ovigerous females collected in the lake or from laboratory cultures were submitted, at a room temperature of 23oc to the following treatments: (1) the chlorophytes ankistrodesmus falcatus and/or scenedesmus spinosus; (2) lake seston; and (3) lake seston + chlorophytes. growth rate, clutch size, and fecundity were evaluated. seston alone was not the best food for promoting cladoceran growth. there were seasonal differences in food quantity and quality with spring and summer seston being better for growth than that of the winter. adding chlorophytes to the seston increased clutch size and fecundity for most species in summer and winter, but not in spring. energy limitation seems to be the most important factor influencing cladoceran growth in summer and especially in winter.